I was mountain biking on a trail that I have ridden many times. On the path back to car, I always question if I have gone in the right direction because the path is very windy and the only thing you can see is the side of the hill. It isn’t until the last quarter mile where the path turns and opens up that I can see the parking lot. I am amazed at how many times I have been down this same trail and yet I still question whether I took the right route and don’t feel confident about my decision until I round that corner and see the parking lot.

What a great metaphor for perception vs. reality. Since I could only see the hillside it would be easy to convince myself that I had taken an incorrect path and was heading in the wrong direction. If I only rely on an interpretation of what I see, I can often misjudge and misperceive. As in life, my perception of reality is based on how I interpret a situation which is based on my past experiences. The lesson for me is how off-base this can be. Just as I see things from my “point of view” others see them from their “point of view” based on their past experiences. No wonder there is so much miscommunication. Steven Covey discusses the importance of empathetic listening and suggest that when communicating with others to always seek first to understand. A hard skill to master, but what a difference it may make in relationships with our fellow human beings.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3: 12-13

Kelley Evans

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